Reflecting on practice: negotiating challenges to ways of working

Sonn, Christopher (2004) Reflecting on practice: negotiating challenges to ways of working. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 14 (4). pp. 305-313. ISSN 1052-9284


In this paper I explore some of the issues associated with teaching and researching in the context of dominant/non-dominant group relations. The paper stems from observations, experiences and challenges that I have encountered in researching with indigenous Australians including Aboriginal people from the mainland and Torres Strait Islander people, and teaching undergraduate and post-graduate subjects on cultural diversity. I suggest that guidelines for working in culturally sensitive ways across cultural boundaries are needed and should include issues of power that are implicit in processes of knowledge production (i.e., what we know, how we know, and on whose terms we know) and social identity construction. I also argue that the writing of indigenous authors in Australia, and other contexts, are important resources for promoting critical reflection because it serves to disrupt taken for granted ways of knowing. At a minimum, I suggest, these writings bring into focus the relationships between power and social identities. I focus on the tensions and challenges associated with negotiating the messages conveyed in Aboriginal authors’ writings about self-determination, colonisation and culturally sensitive and transformative practice and research. I locate the reflection within the broader literature base on indigenisation and the development of culturally sensitive psychology. I conclude that engaging in the explication of power associated with social identities in these contexts can be challenging but it is an important part of creating a culturally sensitive psychology.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Keywords indigenisation, cultural sensitivity, decolonisation
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